Featured Author – Barbara Winkes

Today’s guest on my blog is Barbara Winkes, and she agreed to be grilled by me, but would like to stay at least a bit anonymous. But even without showing her face, let me introduce her to you before I tie her down for the inquisition. 🙂

Barbara Winkes is a psychologist/trauma counselor by trade. Her debut novel “Autumn Leaves” and the follow-up, “Winter Storm”, published by Eternal Press, tells the love story between two women in a small town, where neighbors take an interest in the life of others.

The standalone thriller, “Secrets”, will be released in November 2013.

Barbara is currently working on the third part of the series.

Hi Barbara, thanks for popping in and taking the time to answer a few of my questions.

Have you always lived in Quebec?

No, I’m German. I fell in love with a French-Canadian lady when we met in Paris. We recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary. I bet if I wrote that in a novel, more than one person would say it’s not realistic. Life does write the most amazing stories!

Aw! That is pure romance. 🙂

Is writing your day-job?

Yes, and I’m incredibly grateful for that! For the first year, I was staying in Canada on a visitor’s visa, so of course I didn’t have a work permit. I focused on writing, I submitted, and it worked out. There was a lot of luck and great timing at work. Now I’m about to release my 3rd book with Eternal Press, but there’s more in the works. It’s a dream come true.

Did you ever contemplate going indie?

For a brief moment, yes, but I’m very happy where I am now. There’s so much to consider if you want to compete in today’s publishing world–it’s not just putting your story out there. It’s good to have a partner, especially when you’re still learning about the industry.

 It is nice to know a bit of the personal stuff about you, but that is not why you are here, is it?

Thanks, and…I guess not. 😉

So tell us, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Okay, here we go: The book is called Secrets–it’s a standalone thriller.


Marsha has had some bad luck both in her career and relationships. She decides to go on a getaway to have some time to herself and find out what went wrong, but her vacation isn’t going to be nearly as quiet as she hoped. It doesn’t help that everyone she meets has secrets of their own, including the young hitchhiker she picks up on the way. A serial killer on the loose provides futher complications.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

I don’t stress about titles (most of the time). Usually, they come to my at some point.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I suppose it qualifies as lesbian fiction, since the main characters are lesbians, but genre-wise, it’s really a thriller in the first place. Could I change it to something else? I think there’s always the danger that the reader feels tricked, if you aren’t very clear on those categories. There’s a bit of romance going on in Secrets as well, but it wouldn’t be the right genre to put into.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Depends…I don’t really celebrate chapters so much. I just get very grateful (and giddy!) when it finally works.

Right with that out of the way and to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.

What don’t you like about writing.

The moments when it drags. Sometimes that means you have to get away from the computer for a bit, sometimes you have to write straight through it, but you never know. Then again, I’ve been writing for many years, and by now, I know that the feeling and the flow always come back. I’m very lucky to be able to do what I do, so I try to keep the complaining to a minimum. 🙂

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Blog hops, guest blogs, inviting other authors to my blog, going to places where my actual and potential readers are. I’m on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a combination of factors, and the season also plays into it–Christmas and Valentine’s Day help, for example.

Tell me, when you’re on a roll, the muse is in the house and happily guiding your pen, what would seriously drive her/him away?

I admit I get distracted sometimes, but all in all…not much. I’ve been writing through grief and also some of the best moments of my life so far. When it’s your day job, you tie the muse to the chair if necessary. Even if you don’t write that kind of story.

Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?

Yes, and no. Sometimes, we have heated arguments, especially when I sense a lack of cooperation. I love them. I suspect they don’t always love me back, because I also love drama. I believe in happy endings. Sometimes it takes a lot to get there.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Would chocolate be too much of a cliché? I write romance, too, after all. Honestly, no. I love Italian and Indian food, sometimes a good glass of wine on the weekend, but I’m always willing to try something new.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

You’d have to ask my wife about a recipe! She’s an amazing cook, so it would be difficult to come up with a favorite (Lasagna? Curry? Oh my!)–I’m more into baking and desserts.

Ah, I see. 🙂

dessert Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

Marketing? No, really, when I don’t write for a whole day it’s usually because I decide to do so, mostly on the weekend. I used to work in two very different jobs, so evenings and weekends were the times when I could write–now those are the times I take off. Sometimes, that is.

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Because that’s just the framework, a metaphor. What you really do is create a reality from nothing, a scene and characters on a blank canvas. That’s pretty cool. So there’s writer’s block, and starting over, and editing, but all in all it’s as great as it gets.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Here’s a little fangirl “secret”: I don’t know if it’s going to make you envious, but I own a pair of high-heeled sandals worn by an actress who is pretty popular these days. How did that happen? I really wanted to buy her autograph on ebay which was part of a charity auction, but that was my first attempt at ebay ever, and of course, I didn’t win. I sent some money to the charity in question and checked what else was there on ebay…and I found them (they’re not in a shrine, though, we have the same shoe size). It got a little weird when I had to go to the customs office and open the package there. I’m sure those guys see a lot, but he seemed to have fun with this. He looked at the shoes in astonishment and said “But they are used!” I also had to show the bill which said “sexy shoes”. Sometimes it’s a relief to know you meet certain people only once in your life!

Hahaha, now you make me envious and curious. I’s love to see the shoes! I’m a shoe woman myself and don’t think I don’t mean that. 🙂


Anyway, Barbara, thanks for taking the time to let me grill you.

If after reading all this about Barbara and you’d like to see what else she’s up to, you can find her online at:

Her blogFacebookTwitter, her author page on Eternal Press, and her Amazon Author page


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